WOBURN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A Somerville real estate broker has pleaded guilty to bilking clients out of more than $119,000 by using their deposits for her personal use.
Farkhanda "Kandy" Tarar Shah, 61, of Peabody pleaded guilty to charges of felony larceny, fiduciary embezzlement, and being a common and notorious thief.
A judge sentenced Shah to five years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to nine former clients and to write them a letter of apology.
According to authorities, Shah was both a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed real estate broker doing business as K-Realty. Her office was in Somerville.
Through their investigation, authorities learned that, beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2009, Shah repeatedly paid her own business and personal expenses with her clients' deposit monies given to her to hold in a separate, secure escrow account, in violation of Massachusetts Real Estate Law.
In many instances, the real estate transactions Shah was brokering were "short sales." Due to the complicated nature of short sales, a deal would often fall apart and the client would seek to get their deposit back; however, Shah was unable to repay them because she had already spent their money.
The Massachusetts Division of Licensure revoked Shah's real estate broker's license after clients notified authorities of her actions. The Massachusetts Banking Commission also revoked her mortgage broker's license.